Thursday, May 8, 2014

Another Cooking Analogy

I had a great writing morning this morning. I was working on what I was supposed to be working on, actual drafting of stuff that would go into the final (only by the time I get to the final it'll be much much better because rough drafts always suck; that's what they're for) instead of writing all around it, not thinking about all the stuff I haven't been able to sell, not worrying about the background, locked into the character's POV and feeling my way along, and it all started to crystallize.

Or gel.

Or turn to sauce, which is the chemical reaction I deal with most, that moment in cooking when you're standing there stirring the milk/flour/fat/seasoning/maybe cheese which is thin and drippy and unappetizing and you've been standing there forever and you fiddle with the heat and stir and stir and stir and suddenly you have white sauce. Or gravy. Or cheese sauce. Or whatever variation it is you're making. Total transformation. At which point you count slowly to sixty, still stirring, as it bubbles in that slow gloppy way and then before it all overcooks and turns glutinous and nasty on you, you remove it from the heat with a heart that sings because success. Sauce is one of those things you can only learn by doing, which means learning by failing - over and over and over and over again. And then risking failure some more, because sauce is one of those things that is never guaranteed.

Anyway, the story did this. I am a long way from out of the woods, but in the course of writing through what turned out to be Pelin's linchpin false memory, the one that made it necessary to erase Hirca even though the villain didn't know anything about Hirca, the villain's mode of working turned to sauce. I don't know exactly what all she did, but I know the state of mind she did it in, why she did, and to a certain extent how she did it.

She is scrambling, and has been since her lack of knowledge about the inner states of all the heirs first interfered with what was, to begin with, a simple, workable plan. She is presently tapdancing as fast as she can, and Pelin is the weak point because he's the one she's most confident she controls.

It's always tempting to keep right on going, but I stopped myself as soon as I wrote out the scene, when I still knew the next sentence.

Because you can't stand there stirring forever. You have to turn the heat off, and eat the dish, and be ready to make sauce again tomorrow.

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